The battle between paper and digitalisation has never been more poignant than now. The looming realities of deforestation and the colossal amounts of paper that we collectively use on a daily basis are becoming not only an environmental issue. It is reforming the way we educate, shop and read. Environmental activists estimate that we use more than two pieces of paper for everyone on Earth every single hour ( With these figures, it is no surprise that the pressure for sourcing sustainable reading material is growing by the day. One judicious solution is to neglect the old-style paperback for an environmentally favourable alternative.

This has given birth to the ‘Kindle’ craze generation, with E-books taking a frontline seat in the world of accessible and ‘Earth friendly’ reading tools. However, the argument that still stands strong is the irreplaceable experience of holding a book in your hands, flicking back and forth through the pages and marking your place through a story with a bookmark of personal attachment. The physical connection of holding a book in which you anticipate the next events before turning the page are part of the entire reading experience. An avid reader might argue that reading is not only for your mind, it is an entirely sensory experience: even the smell of an old book can get one enthused about reading.

Although second hand bookshops exist, more and more of them are becoming reserved for the elite with cash to spend on first editions. Arguably, they are a privilege for those who live in the areas that cater for this market. So where does this leave lovers of the material book who are environmentally aware? Enter: ‘Re-Read Libreria Lowcost’, arguably Spain’s greenest chain store. Re-Read is located in the city of Valencia, but is one of the thirty-eight stores scattered all across Spain.

Take your own bag so as not to use plastic and indulge in some conscientious shopping! Re-Read is good to the Earth, yet kind on the pocket. The standard pricing for the books is; 3€ for 1 book, 5€ for 2 books and 10€ for 5 books (with every book being 2€ if you get a natty Re-member card, valid for twelve months from the store of purchase), making it an affordable purchasing experience for everybody that does not cost the Earth in environmental waste.

Re-Read is not just a bookstore; they also purchase books from locals and have an online search engine to find specifics. Their online page is as informative as it is user-friendly, and does not take away from the sanctity of the bookshop itself.

The Valencia branch has succeeded in creating a space that is much more than shopping. Feeling far from a chain store, Re-read is full of cosy corners with book-stacked walls and newspaper notice boards, old typewriters and vintage luggage cases brimming with literature. If you look up you will find books hanging above you from the ceiling, to your side quirky signs that demonstrate the ethos of the shop itself, such as; ‘we do not sell books in weight, we give weight to the books’, and ‘there is always time for a book in bad weather’ – a phrase that gives light to the fact that one can always find sanctuary by reading during bad times in life.

The whole space allows for people to browse with leisure and a feeling of safety. Indeed, it is possibly the only branch where you will find people sitting on the floor. Before making their purchasing decision, they are perfectly carefree to have a gander at what is inside the cover that caught their eye whilst listening to some Britpop or Rock that is often playing in the background at a reasonable volume. To encourage young readers there is a designated children’s space with toys and a chair to sit on, next to a table gleaming with comics and stories like treasure in a box.

Whilst the very welcoming atmosphere and artistically arranged material creates a feeling of going down the rabbit hole, the store itself is very well-structured and finding specific books could not be easier. Unlike some second hand bookstores which could take you years to stumble across a specific book, Re-read has bookshelves split with an A-Z of fiction by author, then categorises books into the likes of the following; Historical Novels, Politics, Geography, Books in Valencian, Cinema, Spirituality, English, French, German and children’s books and many more.

Should you not be able to find a specific book, you can head to their online page to use their search engine to find which store has your book, and will otherwise alert you if it arrives. Other services include buying your books for 0.20€ each, and the closest store will collect them from your house should you have 6-8 boxes worth. Please note that Re-Read does not accept encyclopedias, textbooks or any books in bad condition.

Amongst the hustle and bustle of the city, Re-Read offers a space of disconnection from everyday life and a re-connection with your favourite read, without the weight of carbon footprints on your mind. Re-Read brings environment-friendly shopping with the authentic experience of reading to the cities of Spain.

Charlotte King

Find them in-store:
Re-Read Libreria Lowcost Valencia
Gran Vía Ramón y Cajal, 45
Tel:96 0 070689
Zona Àngel Guimerà
Monday to Friday: 10.00 h -14h / 16.30h -20.30h
Saturday:11h -14.30h / 17h -20.30h
Sunday closed

Find them online:

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